Bush, Clinton, Obama to publicly get coronavirus vaccine to quell Americans' skepticism
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Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all publicly announced that they are willing to get a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available to ensure its safety to the public.
Some politicians have expressed skepticism over a vaccine developed and distributed by the Trump administration, including President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, among other Democratic leaders.
"A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated," Bush Chief of Staff Freddy Ford told Fox News.
President George W. Bush delivers his speech on the last night of the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden. (James Keivom/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Ford continued: "First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations. Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera."
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Clinton spokesman Angel Ureña similarly told Fox News that the former president, first elected in 1993, "will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials," adding that "he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same."
Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter pose in the Oval Office of the White House. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Obama also said he would take a vaccine in a pre-taped interview with SiriusXM's "The Joe Madison Show" promoting the former president's new memoir, "A Promised Land."
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"People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I've worked with, I trust completely," Obama said during the interview when asked about African Americans potentially being skeptical about taking a COVID-19 vaccine given past medical experiments on the community. "So if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID, absolutely, I'm going to take it."
Obama added that he "may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed" so Americans know he trusts the science that went into developing the vaccine.
"What I don't trust is getting COVID," he said. "I think at this point, particularly in the African American community, we are — African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans – we have the highest death rates from this thing, and are most exposed and most vulnerable, in part because we have a lot of preexisting conditions."
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on Black, Hispanic and Native American communities — specifically in regard to hospitalizations and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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Reasons behind the disparities differ, but the CDC attributes some differences to "persons from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups" being "more likely to live in multigenerational and multifamily households, reside in congregate living environments, hold jobs requiring in-person work."
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIH) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly defended the vaccine and its development process amid politicization. The Trump administration put $10 billion toward an initiative to develop a vaccine in May called "Operation Warp Speed."
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